The 2013 NIT has had some surprising scores thus far. The second round wasn’t very shocking so far, though, as four favorites advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Say goodbye to the underdog.
Stony Brook was cast aside by the Iowa Hawkeyes, by a 75-63 margin, as Iowa advanced to the quarterfinals of Region Four.
In Region Three, both Alabama (66-54 over Stanford) and Maryland (62-52 over Denver) scored double-digit victories to advance to a one-seed versus two-seed showdown.
Baylor, who narrowly got by Arizona State by a final 89-86 margin, will await the winner of Robert Morris versus Providence on Monday.
We’ll break down each of these four winners and their outlook for the remainder of the tournament in the following slideshow.
In its win over Arizona State, Baylor proved it had what it takes to beat a quality opponent in a back-and-forth game that came down to the wire.
Arizona State actually built a seven-point lead just before halftime, but a flurry of points from the Bears cut the deficit to just 2 points before the intermission. They made their move in the second half and held on for the victory.
Close, hard-fought wins like that are huge confidence builders, especially in a win-or-go-home tournament like the NIT. That’s especially true against a Pac-12 Conference team like Arizona State.
Early in the season, the Bears exposed the then eighth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and also toppled the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament.
Robert Morris and Providence are the only teams left to stop them from reaching the semifinals. If the Bears can use their big win over Arizona State as a confidence boost, they could take their balanced offense all the way in the NIT.
The Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team won’t be competing for the NCAA championship like the school’s dominant football program.
But, the No. 1 seed of the NIT’s Region Three could be destined to steal the show of the nation’s season-ending consolation tournament.
The Crimson Tide knocked off Stanford, the defending tournament champions, in seemingly easy fashion as they cruised to a 12-point second-round victory.
A win over Maryland would give Anthony Grant’s team a trip to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons. That will be a challenge, though, as the Big 10-bound (2014-15) Terrapins are playing some really good basketball at this point in the season.
But so is Alabama. The Crimson Tide is rolling, and has a solid defense and slow-tempo offense that keeps games at their pace.
Maryland shocked Duke not once, but twice this season, before scoring back-to-back wins to reach the NIT quarterfinals. Their low-post presence and ability to get to the rim has been a huge asset for a team that battled against some elite teams in the ACC this season.
Denver was the latest program to try to unseat the hot Terrapins, and was almost successful, too. The third-seeded Pioneers faltered after Maryland switched to a small lineup. It helped them in the paint, but the Terrapins were too much offensively as a result.
That is something we’ll have to watch for as the NIT progresses. Will the Terps run with a small lineup in hopes of running the court and getting easy buckets?
Their willingness to run a five-guard set, despite the strength of their bigs, allowed them to get to the basket by moving the ball. From there, they drew fouls around the hoop and got back into the game.
A team like Maryland that is able to adapt on the fly and play different styles is a team that can survive in an one-and-done tournament.
The Iowa Hawkeyes silenced upset-minded Stony Brook with a decisive 75-63 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT. It wasn’t easy, but the Big Ten-tested Hawkeyes pulled ahead in the second half and never looked back.
Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble played lights out, scoring 28 points and dishing five assists. Stony Brook upset second-seed UMASS in the opening round of the tournament, but their magic ran out against the perseverance of the Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes aren’t going to go out and out-duel most teams with a high-scoring effort. They are grinders and battlers that will win in the paint and from running the ball through their offense.
While they might not stand out in any one area, they are built well overall and are solid in nearly every aspect of their games. That will help them to contend with any team left in the NIT.